Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester and Transportation Secretary Jennifer Cohan joined Delaware Transit Corporation CEO John Sisson and other state and local officials May 12 to cut the ribbon for the Lewes Transit Center along state Route 1, south of Five Points.

The first phase of the Lewes Transit Center project is complete with a 248-space Park & Ride with security cameras, bicycle racks and repair station, electric car charging stations and temporary passenger amenities, including a ticket booth to sell the seven-day pass. A canopy will be installed this fall, equipped with LED lighting and phone charging stations.

The three-bay maintenance facility designed for both gas and alternative fuel buses is slated for completion mid-2019. Having a maintenance facility on the eastern side of Sussex County will improve the efficiency of DART's transit service, lending itself to year-round service, as well as making express service between Lewes and Dover a reality. Funding for the Transit Center comes in part from the Federal Transit Administration's State of Good Repair Grant of $5 million, as well as its 5311 Rural Transportation Assistance Program.

The new Lewes Park & Ride opened for service May 6, providing weekend beach bus service on the 201 Red Line to Rehoboth Boardwalk. The 208 Blue Line also started weekend service from Rehoboth Park & Ride to Ocean City, Maryland.

The Lewes Park & Ride's northern location, providing direct access to/from state Route 1, offers travelers an option before getting into the heaviest beach congestion, and parking is free. The buses will travel in the buses only lane between the two park and rides, passing by the heavy traffic.

The daily Beach Bus services will begin operating frequent service on seven bus routes serving the new Lewes Park & Ride, Rehoboth Beach and the Boardwalk, Lewes, Long Neck, Dewey Beach, Ruddertowne, Bethany Beach, South Bethany Beach, Fenwick Island and Ocean City, Maryland, on May 22. The service operates seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. with more frequency than ever before. All buses are air-conditioned, handicapped-accessible and equipped with bike racks.

DART's 305 Beach Connection will start May 26, providing a ride from Wilmington to Rehoboth Beach on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays through Sept. 4. The fares have been reduced to $2 per zone. Now, the one-way cash fare is $10 from Wilmington, $8 from Middletown and $6 from Dover. Riders are encouraged to buy a Three-Zone Anywhere pass for $12.60, which can also be used on all beach bus services.

In addition to the new Lewes Park & Ride, DART continues to offer beach bus service from the Rehoboth Park & Ride. The parking fee is $10 per vehicle and includes up to four daily passes.

For information, call 800-652-DART or visit DartFirstState.com